Before becoming a mother, May 10th was a more important day than Mother's Day.It was the day I selfishly had all to myself, to celebrate the woman I cherished and learned so much from, my beautiful grandmother, Julia.We called her Ninny.Boy did she hate that name!!!Being Italian, she wanted to be called Nonna, but my older brother couldn't quite spit it out, and instead he said Ninny, and it stuck ever since.
My grandmother lived alone as long as I knew her (my grandfather died when I was a month old and she never dated again.). She had little money, but food was the core of the family. Every Sunday she would make a huge pot of sauce, angel hair pasta, meatballs and sausage for the family.Her eggplant parmigiana was legendary as was her ham and bean soup.
Her passion for cooking inspired me to want to learn to cook.I'd watch her when I could, asking her secrets to my favorite dishes. Her answer? Fill the food with love!
The best of me comes from my grandmother’s values and her traditions. It is why I also love fashion as much as I love to cook.She worked in the fanciest department store downtown and LOVED her job!She loved helping women look their best and her closet and jewelry armoire was a treasure chest.Not that she had rubies and diamonds, it was all costume jewelry, but to me she looked like Elizabeth Taylor wearing the Hope Diamond.
She never left the house without wearing heels, a long skirt and always, always a little lipstick. She wore all of it up until her death at 88 years old.She still dyed her hair too!She was beautiful.Inside and Out.
Often, summer days were spent weeding in the yard, eating the BEST food and drinking iced tea under her huge weeping willow tree.I loved sleepovers, when she would let me stay up late to watch The Love Boat and Fantasy Island.Then on Sunday we would go to church and have the BEST toasted tomato & cheese sandwiches after.
I learned so much from her.She taught me how to play gin rummy, (she often let me win), how to sew a button, and taught me that with anything you do, do with extraordinary pride.
So this month each week I'll share a few of my favorite memories because I owe so much to her for being the woman I am.Strong, confident, humble and happy.
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